Special Report

One Hit Wonders Who Are Still Making Music

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Having a chart-topping song is the dream of countless musicians. Many recording artists accomplish this feat once, yet never manage to duplicate their success. The most common name for these musicians? One-hit wonders.

Some one-hit wonders have their five minutes of fame and then either break up or fade into obscurity. For example, disco-funk band Lipps, Inc. disbanded in 1985, only five years after their smash hit “Funkytown” spent four weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart. Being a professional musician can be challenging, and having just one hit doesn’t necessarily result in a lifetime of success like multiple hits can. These are the artists with the most No. 1 hits.

Yet some musicians continue to work in the field long after they have had their one major hit song. Recognition of their most popular work is often utilized for marketing purposes, but a passion for creation generally drives these musicians, who continue to record and perform new music long after the acclaim behind their smash singles die down.

Sept. 25 marks National One-Hit Wonder Day, which aims to honor the musical artists behind some of pop music’s biggest hits. In recognition of the date, 24/7 Tempo has identified 28 one-hit wonders who are still making music, some of whom created some of the biggest one-off hits of all time.

Click here to see the one-hit wonders who are still making music.

To identify the one-hit wonders who are still making music, 24/7 Tempo identified the artists behind the songs with the longest stays on the weekly Top 40 charts, based on the Billboard Hot 100, prior to 2010. Only songs that peaked within the chart’s top five positions were considered. Additionally, artists must have charted on the Top 40 no more than once, either as individual artists or by featuring on another artist’s song. Songs that were originally recorded for a film or television show were not considered. The American Top 40 consists of the top 40 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 and was obtained from Billboard. To be included, an artist also must have performed in concert or released new recorded material at some point in the previous three years.

Source: Victor Boyko / Getty Images

28. Robin S
> Hit song: Show Me Love
> Year: 1993
> Peak position on Top 40: 5 (21 weeks total)

Queens-born singer Robin S. tore into the pop charts in the summer of 1993 with her dance single “Show Me Love.” The performer continues to tour worldwide, with concert dates currently planned across both North America and Europe into 2020.


Source: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images

27. Macy Gray
> Hit song: I Try
> Year: 2000
> Peak position on Top 40: 5 (23 weeks total)

Raspy-voiced crooner Macy Gray captured the nation’s attention in 2000 with her infectious hit “I Try” off her debut album “On How Life Is.” Although she appeared on the Black Eyed Peas’ 2001 “Request Line,” which peaked at No. 63 on the Billboard Hot 100, Gray has not released another single to the pop charts. Regardless, she has put out nine albums since her debut, including 2018’s “Ruby.”

Source: Scott Gries / Getty Images

26. Nicole Wray
> Hit song: Make It Hot
> Year: 1998
> Peak position on Top 40: 5 (23 weeks total)

Nicole Wray released her hit R&B single “Make It Hot,” featuring Missy Elliott and rapper Mocha, when she was only 17. Wray has so far been unable to recreate the song’s mainstream success, though she has continued to perform and release new music throughout the years. She currently performs under the moniker Lady Wray, having released one solo album in 2016 and numerous singles, including one in 2019.

Source: Scott Gries / Getty Images

25. Ruff Endz
> Hit song: No More
> Year: 2000
> Peak position on Top 40: 5 (25 weeks total)

Hip-hop soul duo Ruff Endz, consisting of David “Davinch” Chance and Dante “Chi” Jordan, reached No. 5 on the Billboard Top 40 with their song “No More.” The group was successful after the song’s release — though they never reached the same chart heights — with their music being featured in movies, including “Blue Streak,” “I Spy,” and “Barber Shop.” After they split up in 2004, the duo regrouped and recorded new music, including an album released in 2018.


Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

24. Eagle-Eye Cherry
> Hit song: Save Tonight
> Year: 1998
> Peak position on Top 40: 5 (25 weeks total)

The son of famous jazz musician Don Cherry, Eagle-Eye Cherry (his actual name) witnessed his song “Save Tonight” being played on radios across the country following the release of his debut album, “Desireless.” After releasing two more albums, both of which underperformed, Cherry took an extended hiatus from music. He has since returned, releasing the album “Streets of You” in 2018.

Source: Mauricio Santana / Getty Images

23. Jimmy Eat World
> Hit song: The Middle
> Year: 2002
> Peak position on Top 40: 5 (26 weeks total)

The Mesa, Arizona, pop punk group Jimmy Eat World had already released numerous albums before finding mainstream success with their 2001 record “Bleed American,” anchored by the hit single “The Middle.” The song peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained in the top 40 for 26 weeks. The band continues to tour and has announced an October release date for their 10th studio album, “Surviving.”


Source: Courtesy of Deep Blue Something via Twitter

22. Deep Blue Something
> Hit song: Breakfast At Tiffany’s
> Year: 1995
> Peak position on Top 40: 5 (26 weeks total)

Deep Blue Something left their mark on alternative rock history with their 1995 hit “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” The band drifted apart in the years following the song’s release but reunified in 2016 to release the five-song “Locust House EP.” The band currently has multiple tour dates scheduled throughout their home state of Texas.

Source: Rick Diamond / Getty Images

21. The Verve Pipe
> Hit song: The Freshmen
> Year: 1997
> Peak position on Top 40: 5 (29 weeks total)

Michigan-based band “The Verve Pipe” scored their lone hit — “The Freshman” — with the release of their debut album on a major label, 1996’s “Villains.” While the group did take an eight-year break, they are currently fully active, releasing new music and performing live. The Verve Pipe has been around since 1992.

Source: Courtesy of Des'ree via Facebook

20. Des’ree
> Hit song: You Gotta Be
> Year: 1994
> Peak position on Top 40: 5 (30 weeks total)

Des’ree reached the No. 5 position on the Billboard pop singles chart with her song “You Gotta Be” in 1995. And though she had other successful career moments, such as the inclusion of the ballad “Kissing You” on the soundtrack for “Romeo + Juliet” (1996), the British singer became inactive for 16 years following the release of her 2003 album “Dream Soldier.” Des’ree returned to release a new single in September 2019, however, with her album “A Love Story” scheduled for release the following month.


Source: Alexandre Schneider / Getty Images

19. Snow Patrol
> Hit song: Chasing Cars
> Year: 2006
> Peak position on Top 40: 5 (32 weeks total)

The Northern Irish rock band Snow Patrol has been around for 25 years. Over this quarter century, only one track by the group has broken into the top 40 on Billboard’s Hot 100, “Chasing Cars,” which peaked at No. 5 in October 2006. The band has continued to release music and tour since, and is set to release a new album this year and tour the U.K.

Source: Aaron Davidson / Getty Images

18. Kevin Lyttle
> Hit song: Turn Me On
> Year: 2004
> Peak position on Top 40: 4 (20 weeks total)

Kevin Lyttle’s calypso-influenced dance hit “Turn Me On” was an international smash hit. The singer has yet to send another song to the Hot 100, but not for want of trying. Lyttle has continued to release music, often as singles without accompanying albums.


Source: Jason Kempin / Getty Images

17. Joan Osborne
> Hit song: One Of Us
> Year: 1995
> Peak position on Top 40: 4 (21 weeks total)

“What if God was one of us?” Joan Osborne asks in her iconic song “One of Us.” The Grammy-nominated song was a huge pop hit and appeared in movies, including “Vanilla Sky,” “Bruce Almighty,” and even “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.” The singer released her ninth studio album — a collection of Bob Dylan covers — in 2017 and continues to perform live.

Source: Leon Bennett / Getty Images

16. Cassie
> Hit song: Me & U
> Year: 2006
> Peak position on Top 40: 3 (21 weeks total)

While singer Cassie is only 33-years-old, it’s been 13 years since her song “Me & U” soared to No. 3 on the Hot 100 chart. Cassie has yet to release a sophomore album, though she put out a mixtape in 2013 as well as numerous songs, including some this past year.

Source: Miguel Villagran / Getty Images

15. Jennifer Paige
> Hit song: Crush
> Year: 1998
> Peak position on Top 40: 3 (23 weeks total)

Singer Jennifer Paige had a colossal pop hit with “Crush” — the first song on her debut, self-titled album. Paige has continued to work in music ever since, either as a songwriter or a performer. Her most recent work is the 2017 album “Starflower,” and Paige continues to stay in touch with her fanbase via social media.


Source: Regime Management / Wikimedia Commons

14. House Of Pain
> Hit song: Jump Around
> Year: 1992
> Peak position on Top 40: 3 (25 weeks total)

Hip hop group House of Pain released three albums in the 1990s, the first of which contained their big hit “Jump Around,” which has appeared in numerous movies and been played at countless sporting events. The group eventually went their separate ways, with frontman Everlast performing as a solo artist and DJ Lethal joining rap-metal band Limp Bizkit. The band reunited in 2017 to tour in honor of their smash single’s 25th anniversary and — while new material may not be in the picture — the trio continues to perform live on occasion.

Source: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

13. Blu Cantrell
> Hit song: Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!)
> Year: 2001
> Peak position on Top 40: 2 (21 weeks total)

Blu Cantrell’s Grammy-nominated “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!)” off her 2001 album “So Blu” shot to the No. 2 on the Hot 100. The singer followed up that release in 2003 with her album “Bittersweet,” which failed at having another standout track. Cantrell is reportedly working on her third album in between her scheduled live performances.


Source: Christopher Matthew Thiemann / Wikimedia Commons

12. Nicki French
> Hit song: Total Eclipse Of The Heart
> Year: 1995
> Peak position on Top 40: 2 (21 weeks total)

English singer and actress Nicki French scored a hit with her dance cover of Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” French has had a prolific career since, making and performing music, collecting numerous television credits, and combining her talents to work in musical theater — most recently in a production of “Beauty and the Beast.”

Source: Courtesy of Mark Morrison via Facebook

11. Mark Morrison
> Hit song: Return Of The Mack
> Year: 1997
> Peak position on Top 40: 2 (33 weeks total)

“Return of the Mack,” by British R&B singer Mark Morrison, spent 33 weeks in the top 40, peaking at No. 2. Morrison struggled to maintain this success, due in part to legal issues that led to him spending time in prison. Morrison has put out music recently, however, including an EP in 2014 titled “I Am What I Am.”

Source: Michael Buckner / Getty Images

10. Hoobastank
> Hit song: The Reason
> Year: 2004
> Peak position on Top 40: 2 (34 weeks total)

Pop-rock quartet Hoobastank found success early in their near 20-year existence with the release of the Grammy-nominated album “The Reason.” The record included the hit song of the same name, which, despite its heavy rock edge, reached No. 2 on the Hot 100. The band has not returned to the chart since, despite releasing four more albums, including 2018’s “Push Pull.” A 15th anniversary edition of “The Reason” will be released this October.


9. Donna Lewis
> Hit song: I Love You Always Forever
> Year: 1996
> Peak position on Top 40: 2 (35 weeks total)

Welsh singer Donna Lewis made pop music history with her infectious “I Love You Always Forever” from her debut album, “Now in a Minute.” Lewis has released four albums since and recently recorded a cover of singer Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill.”

Source: Courtesy of The Tony Rich Project via Facebook

8. The Tony Rich Project
> Hit song: Nobody Knows
> Year: 1996
> Peak position on Top 40: 2 (38 weeks total)

The Tony Rich Project — the moniker under which R&B singer-songwriter Tony Rich performs — had a massive hit in 1996 with his Grammy-nominated “Nobody Knows.” Though Rich hasn’t returned to the pop charts since the 1990s, he’s released a substantial amount of music since then, including a full length studio album called “Encaustic” in 2017. The singer also continues to perform live, entertaining crowds this past summer.


Source: Courtesy of Tag Team via Twitter

7. Tag Team
> Hit song: Whoomp! (There It Is)
> Year: 1993
> Peak position on Top 40: 2 (40 weeks total)

The chorus of “Whoomp! (There It Is)” should be familiar to anyone who lived through the 1990s. Created by rap duo Tag Team, the track spent an exceptional 40 weeks in the top 40, peaking at No. 2 in the summer of 1993. The group has ridden the song to ongoing success, performing it on television, at professional sports games, and at corporate events. Fans can currently book Tag Team for performances through their website.

Source: Tibrina Hobson / Getty Images

6. Debby Boone
> Hit song: You Light Up My Life
> Year: 1977
> Peak position on Top 40: 1 (20 weeks total)

Debby Boone’s “You Light Up My Life” spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 in 1977. That year, the song also won Grammy awards for Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance. In the years following the song’s release, Boone released both country and Christian music albums, then expanded her career, working as both an actor and author of children’s books. She continues to perform live, recently singing jazz and pop standards.

Source: Caspiax / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

5. Ini Kamoze
> Hit song: Here Comes The Hotstepper
> Year: 1994
> Peak position on Top 40: 1 (23 weeks total)

“Here Comes The Hotstepper” was the biggest hit for Ini Kamoze, spending two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1994. The song was included on director Robert Altman’s film “Ready to Wear.” That has been the only top-40 hit for the Jamaican reggae artist. Since then, he has released four albums and four singles.


Source: Christopher Polk / Getty Images

4. Owl City
> Hit song: Fireflies
> Year: 2009
> Peak position on Top 40: 1 (25 weeks total)

Owl City is a musical project by singer/producer Adam Young, whose song “Fireflies” went seven-times platinum, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. Young has continued to work in motion pictures (“Wreck-It Ralph,” “The Croods”) and television (“VeggieTales”).

Source: Vince Bucci / Getty Images

3. Daniel Powter
> Hit song: Bad Day
> Year: 2006
> Peak position on Top 40: 1 (27 weeks total)

The Canadian musician’s song “Bad Day” spent five weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 in 2006 and was featured in a commercial for NFL Fantasy Football. Powter has not equaled that success yet, although he continues to perform and recently played shows in Kuala Lumpur and Japan.


Source: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

2. Soulja Boy
> Hit song: Crank That (Soulja Boy)
> Year: 2007
> Peak position on Top 40: 1 (29 weeks total)

“Crank That (Soulja Boy)” held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks, peaking on Sept. 15, 2007. Soulja Boy, born DeAndre Cortez Way, has released four studio albums along with numerous mixtapes, singles, and videos since his blockbuster hit. However, he’s run afoul of the law and is serving an eight-month prison term for a parole violation stemming from a conviction for carrying a loaded firearm in public.

Source: Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

1. James Blunt
> Hit song: You’re Beautiful
> Year: 2005
> Peak position on Top 40: 1 (29 weeks total)

James Blunt, an English singer-songwriter, record producer, and former British Army officer, has made just one appearance in the Billboard Hot 100 with “You’re Beautiful,” which was No. 1 for one week. He’s had five additional studio albums and has enjoyed success in the U.K. since then. Blunt continues to tour worldwide, often opening for artists such as Ed Sheeran.

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